Can Unmarried Couples Create an Estate Plan in New York?

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When a person creates an estate plan, it takes care of what happens to your assets when you die as well as who takes care of you if you become incapacitated. This does not change whether the individual creating it is married or not. This is why most estate plans usually look the same regardless of marital status. However, it is very important for unmarried couples to have an estate plan. This is because with marriage comes certain legal rights pertaining to your significant other. These are rights that unmarried couples do not have. It is because of this that these rights are given through an estate plan instead. When creating an estate plan as an unmarried couple, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Re-title Real Estate to Avoid Probate

If made correctly, an estate plan can avoid probate. In the event that it does not, intestacy laws can control who receives the assets. There are different ways to avoid probate for real estate. This can be done by creating a Living Trust for yourself or a Joint Trust with your partner. Then, your partner can administer your estate as a successor trustee after your death. This can also be done by naming your partner as a joint tenant to allow property ownership by two people. With this, your interest automatically passes to the joint tenant when you pass away.

Appoint Your Partner as Attorney-in-Fact

By naming your partner as a power of attorney, the individual has the right to act on your behalf during financial or medical situations in the event that you cannot do so yourself. Naming your partner as your health care proxy as well allows them to make end-of-life decisions for you.

Name Your Partner as “Pay-on-Death Beneficiary”

A pay-on-death beneficiary can take a copy of your death certificate to the bank with their identification. This allows them to transfer funds or re-title an account into their name. This can be done for any insurance policies, retirement plans, and bank accounts.

Create a Digital Estate Plan

As the use of technology has risen over the years, so has the way people create estate plans. When you have digital assets, it is important that these are included in an estate plan so that a partner can access or dispose of them after you die. 

Write a Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction tells your partner how to manage your estate properly. This makes it easier for your spouse to carry out the desired wishes of your estate plan. This is important if your partner does not have a great deal of knowledge regarding your finances or business dealings.

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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